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PA Speaker Terms Explained

Which speaker should i buy?
PA Speaker Terms Explained

Active or Passive?

Active (or powered) Speakers have a power amplifier built into them, making them versatile as most have direct inputs for microphones and line inputs for other music sources such as MP3 and CD players.

Passive Speakers require the use of an external power amplifier for operation. When selecting an amplifier for your system, it must match the Power rating (Watts) and Impedance (measured in Ohms) of the speakers you are using. Passive speakers connect to the amplifier with a heavier grade speaker cable.

Power Rating

Your Loudspeakers is likely to overheat and fail if too much power is put through it. Wattage measures how much power your speaker can handle and is most typically denoted as Watts RMS. This is essential to take note of when choosing a loudspeaker as it ensures the speaker will perform to optimum volume without distortion or risk of being damaged. Other terms relating to power include Peak Power which takes into account the amount of power a speaker can handle for very brief amount of time (we're talking milliseconds), and

PMPO (Peak Music Power Output)- both these values are not very useful when matching speakers with amplifiers or comparing volume of one system to another.

Impedance

Loudspeaker impedance, represented in Ohms, measures what the current flow from the power amp is working against. Knowing the correct impedance is essential in conjunction with power to prevent damage and ensure the speaker is performing correctly.

Sound Pressure Level

Sound pressure level, or SPL, is measured in decibels (dB). Often a maximum SPL level is given to indicate the loudest volume an audio system can provide. Although this measurement is subjective and depends on the same audio passing through each speaker for an accurate comparison, it is still useful when comparing the volume of different speaker systems.

Frequency Response

The frequency response tells you how well the speaker can respond across the audible frequency range. Usually, this is represented as the upper and lower limits- from the lowest frequency the speaker will reproduce to the highest frequency. The lower frequencies are represented in 'Hz' and the higher frequencies represented by 'kHz'. An example of a frequency response would be: '30 Hz to 20kHz'.

by Alice Thomson

Posted on 24 Jun 2013 11:47 to category : Tips and advice

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